Shelter ads banned

Two radio ads for the housing charity Shelter have been banned by radio advertising authorities for being too "political" and "denigrating" local authorities. The ads were intended to promote services for people on council flat waiting lists available on Shelter's website.

The charity said both ads used irreverent, simple messages to highlight the fact that 1.6 million people across the UK are on the waiting list, but the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre ruled that the ads were too political.

In an email to Shelter, the RACC wrote: “The ad is not just telling clients about the services of Shelter, it’s talking about the current “crisis” of council housing, the waiting list. The aim is towards a political end – to get things changed.”

Graeme Brown, Shelter’s director of communications, said: “In a discussion paper, the Governance of Britain, Gordon Brown last week pledged to boost the campaigning of charities as part of a drive to increase public engagement with politics and ‘enable charities to better campaign’. This must include allowing charities to advertise in an appropriate manner, and not to be gagged for being seen as political.”

Shelter produced several iterations of the script, including the deletion of the fact that the government was “to blame” for the situation, but the RACC still deemed the content unfit for airing. Brown said this was particularly frustrating since local radio advertising was a very cost-effective way of reaching potential beneficiaries.

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